Over the past 2 years our team has participated in many different races at a variety of locations, our initial goal was to complete 50 races with no duplication.
We recently completed our 50th race which was held in beautiful St. Sauveur, Quebec at Mont Habitant.
It was called the Dead End Race.
This race had been postponed from an earlier date so we managed to get free passes to take some friends along with us and we stayed overnight to avoid a long drive the next morning. We also took advantage of some of the local cuisine in the town of St. Sauveur and I highly recommend ‘Ye Olde Orchard’ pub for some great food and a welcoming environment or you can head over to Moe’s Bar & Grill which was one of the event sponsors.
We managed to find the ski resort directly from the map and they have great signage and can be accessed from two major highways. Mont Habitant is located in St. Sauveur, Quebec which is about a 50 minute drive North of Montreal. I had booked these rooms well in advance and Helene kept me informed about rates and policies prior to our arrival. The front desk clerk was very accommodating and the room rates for the newly renovated rooms were around $80.00 with two doubles, a kitchenette and fireplace.
Parking was $10.00 and was located right at the base resort. There were approximately 800 cars by final count at the end of the day and it was nice to be able to come and go without any bus or distance issues. Our parking was included free as a guest of the hotel.
Registration/Race Kit Pick-up
As mentioned above, we had registered earlier in the year and the event had to be postponed once due to weather/freezing and a second time as dates conflicted with previously booked events. Adrenaline Events did a good job contacting racers and re-scheduling those that wanted to race at a later date. The October date was finalized and confirmed with only a few issues with start times and registrant details.
The morning of the race we rolled out of bed, grabbed a quick bite from our coolers and headed down to a well-marked area to pick up our racing kits. The line-up took a bit longer than we would have liked, but it was due to the fact that ‘bumped’ racers needed to grab a new race kit and be registered manually on a list.
We headed back to our room to get warm as it was only 7 degrees at this point and it had rained all night. The rain had since stopped and the sun was burning through the fog rising slowly over the mountainside eventually warming up to 11 degrees.
The race kit consisted of advertising, coupons, bib, pins, tie wraps for the timing chip and a cotton t-shirt.
While donning our race bibs we noticed our timing chips were missing, so 10 minutes prior to race time, we headed back to the registration tent to grab a timing chip and then began to search for the start line.
There was some confusion as to where the start line was. We asked a few volunteers who were uncertain but we managed to locate a caged in area with some small signage and awaited our next instructions. The Elite heat was to go at 0900 hrs; we were joining in so we had more time to play on the mountain.
Bag check was available on-site free of charge, and the event promoter had the resort opened on both levels so participants could access indoor facilities and shops and keep warm between heats.
There were washrooms in the main resort and guests could zip back to their rooms, if they so desired, as they were perfectly located near the race start/finish line.
We chose to head back to the room to shower off before heading home and the hotel had provided us with special towels that were labelled ‘mud towels’ so we could clean up after the race – a nice touch! Check out was noon and we had ample time to clean up before checking out.
The main resort was a two story chalet and gave spectators an upper level view of the race. Music could be heard throughout the venue and added the momentum needed to make it up some of the steeper slopes.
During our warm up in the cage there were a few technical difficulties but our MC -Anthony Horng kept us motivated and entertained until we were set free!
A drone circled overhead filming the event from an aerial perspective and followed racers as they snaked their way up the mountain. The first obstacle was the mud pit and perked everyone up with a cold wet rush of ooze. Some complained that their shoes were wet, while others, like us, giggled with glee as we slopped our way through the goo.
As you continued up the slope, the Elite’s raced off, leaving us ‘walkers’ to enjoy the awesome views, beautiful foliage and the 39 more obstacles that awaited us throughout the course. We then proceeded to crawl, climb, roll, lift, drag, push and weave our way up and along the mountain numerous times. In total we covered just over 7 Km of terrain.
All the obstacles were well made and none left you hesitant about their safety. There were a few unique obstacles like the port-o-let crawl, where racers climbed in through one john down into a water filled trench and back up out the other john. This one was closed when we came through and opened later on during the event as the water levels in the trenches decreased slightly.
There was paint ball targets, cargo crawls, bean bag tosses for push ups, Burpee stations and one of the more challenging obstacles was the boat walk where racers traversed tied up rubber rafts over varying lengths of water. We appreciated that they did not resort to a simple bale of hay climb or the more mundane horse jump. It was obvious that there was some creativity and effort put into the planning of these obstacles and the course layout itself.
I had the opportunity to speak with Brian Townsend, the event promoter, and he admits that there was extra money spent to reinforce the structures during the build phase for this event. Some obstacles had to be modified or changed to suit the terrain and weather.
One of the final walls was the arched wall with no ropes – it loomed above racers with willing volunteers at the top to assist with a ‘hand-up’ if needed and then a conduit slide took racers down the backside.
The estimated number of participants was 2000 but only 1000 were timed with chips.
There were six water stations well located along the course, but Brian admits that he forgot water at the finish line, a small detail that he was reminded of by participants more than once.
As we approached what we thought was the finish line, we were surprised to see that we still had one final lake loop to complete before heading back to the main venue area, medals, food and final photos. Every participant received a finisher’s medal.
The competitive racers won the following:
Free passes to: Dead End Race, Polar Hero Race, Avengers Race and Rushwood Race;
A gift card from TNT-Nutrition (1st-$200, 2nd-$100 & 3rd-$50);
A free pass for Propulsion rafting and Paintball Mirabel; and
A free supper at Moe’s Bar and Grill in Saint Sauveur.
The MC entertained the participants near the start line, and music could be heard throughout the race site. We only saw one power drink booth and there was a grill set up near the chalet to purchase basic fare like hot dogs and hamburgers.
We chose to drive into St. Sauveur and attend ‘La Belle Province’ to eat ‘steamies’ and poutine, as did many other racers…we were lined up out the door! YUM.
We thought that SWAG would be available to purchase but there was only the ability to purchase an extra t-shirt if you were using a Groupon, so we were a bit disappointed that we could not get a hoodie or the likes.
The Mont Habitant motel was clean, quiet and perfectly located right on site. I would recommend this location to anyone coming in from out of town. You could easily share it amongst 4-6 people with the size of the rooms. During the summer months, they have an outdoor pool and small lake to enjoy at the base of the mountain and local shops line the main street with old world charm.
This race overall had good communications and emails were sent with reminders and updates right up to a few days prior to the event. The website was easy to navigate and correspondence was responded to in a reasonable amount of time. There was a bit of confusion over who had paid previously, but it seemed to work out in the end. The advertising for this event was accurate and the race provided a greater challenge than anticipated.
Medics were on site provided by ‘Technisoins’ and most injuries were minor throughout day.
To summarize, this was a fun and creative event. The mountainside added more of a challenge for the elite racers and 40 obstacles kept the non-runners entertained throughout the multiple elevation changes. The volunteers at this event were the most enthusiastic and supportive of any event we have attended to date and were friendly, pleasant and motivated! Thank you to those who came out to help with this event –Well done!
A big thank you goes out to Brian Townsend from the Gritty Kitties for your hard work, enthusiasm and planning that will keep us coming back for more!
Their next event is planned for June 27-28, 2015.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars